The thought of transitioning into a new career can be frightening any time you consider it but doing it in 2021 may give you even more pause. The fact is, nearly half of all working adults will make a significant career change sometime during their working life. The reasons are varied. Maybe the job you thought you wanted is no longer satisfying. Maybe there is no room for career advancement at your organization. Maybe you want more money, greater responsibility, or more flexibility. Whether you are moving from RN to MSN, changing industries completely, or seeking a promotion, you undoubtedly have some questions about how to move forward. Let’s explore some of those and outline some tips for making a career transition.
1. How do I take my career to the next level?
Most adults take up to 11 months to take a definitive step towards career transition. Even while you are making the decision, there are things you can do to grow your skills and increase your value as an employee. First, do some self-assessment to identify why you are wanting to change careers and set some goals you want to achieve. Next, research the job market and identify jobs that are in line with your goals and values. Finally, determine what is required to get that job and outline a plan to get there. Along the way, you may want to engage a mentor, join a professional organization or two, and keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to demonstrate your abilities and worth at your current position.
More and more adults are earning an accelerated, online master’s degree to leverage themselves into new industries and higher-paying salaries. And rightly so – career advancement is usually tied to an advanced degree. Dr. Julie McAdoo, assistant dean for academic development at Ottawa University, has an encouraging perspective for those wondering whether to take this step towards transitioning into a new career in 2021. “Earning any degree shows a measure of self-discipline and tenacity, but academically qualified students may find that earning a master’s degree is a little ‘easier’” she says. “Don’t get me wrong, there will be more rigorous work, and academic expectations will be high for graduate students, but in a graduate program, students are focusing on a specific field that their experience has proved to be of interest to them. Students will be exposed to broad theoretical concepts as well as the contemporary issues and practices in that field. I have heard it said that when it comes to education, ‘relevance motivates’. Students will find graduate coursework to be very relevant to their profession and career goals.”
In today’s market, the hard skills of any particular job are only one component of a career transition. In fact, research has shown that one of the most needed and researched skills right now is anxiety and stress management. No surprise there. The other is adaptability – the ability to ‘quickly read signals and act on change.’ In fact, according to Fast Company, adaptability is the number one quality employers should look for in a new hire because the position you take today will look different tomorrow. You must be prepared to evolve (adapt) with the job. Having a growth mindset will prove an invaluable asset to your employer. Here again, a mentor in your industry can be a great resource to help you understand what’s needed to remain relevant and successful in your career evolution.
2. What should I switch my career to?
This can be an angst-producing question, as the answer can literally change the course of your life. The best place to start when answering the question lies in Socrates’s sage advice: “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Once you have honestly assessed your core values, interests, and ambitions, you can set the course for achieving your career goals. Of course, you will also want to research which careers are in demand that meet your salary expectations. Most likely, education will be a significant component of your career transition, so do your homework. To jumpstart the process, it’s worth noting that these degrees are among the highest paying master’s degrees for 2021.
- Master’s Degree in Business Administration
An MBA takes the top spot on the list of highest-paying master’s degrees, largely because of the varied concentrations and high-paying careers that students land after graduation. Ottawa University’s accelerated concentrations include Accounting, Business Data Analytics, Finance, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Population Health/Health Care, School Business Operations, and Strategic Innovation.
- Master's degree in Accounting
- Master's degree in Nursing
- Master's degree in Healthcare Management
3. What are the benefits of furthering my education?
The benefits of furthering your education are manifold. “In the marketplace, examples of benefits of an advanced degree are easy to find,” says Dr. McAdoo. “In education, school districts use salary scales that increase not just due to longevity but by additional education levels, as well. Regardless of the field, on average, the College Board (2019) reports that median earnings for people with a master’s degree are $10,500 annually above those for a bachelor’s degree. But I don’t believe money is the only benefit. Attainment of higher education also impacts rates of employment satisfaction, access to retirement plans, access to health insurance coverage, and even better health practices (College Board, 2019).”
“I think there is also an intangible benefit,” McAdoo adds. “I know that for me personally, with each degree completed, my confidence grew. I knew that I could tackle a difficult challenge, do the work, and achieve the goal. In interactions with instructors and peers, my perspective was broadened, I learned at an advanced level, and I made valuable personal and professional connections along the way.”
4. When should I make a career change?
With the workplace changing on nearly a daily basis due to COVID-19, job security on shaky ground at best, and companies imposing hiring freezes, you may be worried that now is not a good time to consider transitioning to a new career. But there’s a different perspective to consider. If you enroll in an accelerated, online graduate program today, you will emerge in 2023 to a COVID-free job market and an economy that has had time to recover. With your graduate degree in hand, you will be poised to take advantage of the turnaround and put yourself ahead of your competition. A smart investment, indeed.
So, when should you make a career change – or start preparing for a career transition?
The answer is TODAY!
Ottawa University is here to get you started on your new career path and explore the benefits of earning an online degree. An enrollment advisor is just waiting for your call.